A DISTRAUGHT parent who's 14-year-old son took a harmful reaction to a 'legal high' drug which they purchased in an Enniskillen shop has pleaded with teenagers in the county to be extremely careful with what they meddle with.
It comes as Inspector Roy Robinson pleaded this week with teenagers not to use drugs which were not scientifically tested: "This is causing great anxiety and they are causing untold damage to our children. My appeal would be to not buy these so called legal drugs which are not laboratory tested. People don't know what they are putting into their bodies and they could lead to adverse effects, if not death."
The mother who asked not to be identified, said her son aged 14 had purchased a sachet of 'Wild Cat' powder in Enniskillen. As a result he broke out in what she described as a bad sweat which ran down his forehead and a rash.
"My child goes to a school in Enniskillen. After school there are groups of teenagers - boys and girls - meeting up at the bus depot or in the vicinity of the shopping centre and taking these highs. He took a wild cat and was in a bad way. It lasted for the rest of the evening. When he came home he had broke down in a sweat and looked like a person who was really into drugs. He also developed a rash on his skin. The sweat was dripping from his forehead. It lasted a couple of hours and he was drinking lots of water."
The mother said she confronted a woman selling the legal drugs in Enniskillen.
"I asked the woman about the Wild Cat and she asked me did I want a half a gram or a gram. I asked her how much it was and what I was supposed to do with it. She said she didn't sell to anyone without ID. What are people supposed to do with these bath salts?"
Despite the ill-effects of taking the drug, she said her son's attitude after the episode was frightening.
"He just said it is legal, you can buy them and so as far as he was concerned he had done nothing wrong."
The mother pleaded with other parents to be vigilant: "As a parent I was devastated to see my 14-year-old child had taken this drug and was devastated to see the effects. I would like parents to be vigilant and I would like see the police to go the extreme of analysing these drugs to tell me what exactly are them in that are causing these extreme effects?"
Inspector Robinson appealed to any user who had taken a bad reaction to come forward to police and explain what the effects are.
"We are keen to speak to anyone who may have tried these so called legal highs and had a negative effect. The bottom line is they are being sold as bath salts but what is in it? Who would pay £25 for a gram of bath salts? Or who would pay £25 for food for plants. Why not go to a chemist to buy bath salts?"
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Western Education and Library Board (WELB) said all schools are required to have a drugs policy and to teach drugs education as part of the NI Curriculum.
"WELB'S Curriculum Advisory and Support Service provides drugs education training and support to all schools in the Board area, to assist them in delivering their statutory requirements. Training programmes are provided in teachers' centres, at individual schools on request and also online, in the form of a regional and interactive Drugs Education course which is currently available to schools through the Learning NI website.
"Training is delivered in partnership with several community and voluntary sector organisations who have specific expertise in the areas of prevention, treatment, support and counselling services.
"WELB also works closely with the Western Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Team (WDACT) to ensure that information, support and guidance provided to schools is accurate, up-to-date and reflects local and current trends or issues.
BY NUALA MCALOON
March 10, 2010